Week one was all it was promised to be with two overtime games, one tie and an absolute clinic put on by Patrick Mahomes, which we are all accustomed to seeing by now. However, takeaways from week one can be tough as we’ve only seen these guys play football for 60 minutes against just one other team. In this article, I will lay out which trends we should pay attention to from week one, which could help out with some of your burning start/sit questions or give you some deeper options to start in a pinch.
As we’ve already mentioned with Mahomes, let’s begin with what we saw in that Kansas City vs. Arizona game. Mahomes carved up this defense for 360 passing yards and five touchdowns in a big win. However, not only did Mahomes look great, this defense looked shockingly bad. Especially the secondary. To prove this point we can look to PFF, where eight of the Cardinals defensive players who played more than 20 snaps received a grade lower than 50. Apart from Budda Baker, this isn’t a group that has very many household names to begin with, and they did not look the part in week one.
Well who do they match up against in week two? The Las Vegas Raiders. Ideally you have Lamar Jackson, Josh Allen or Jalen Hurts to start as your QB1 this week, however if you’re like me in most of my drafts and waited on drafting a QB this year, look no further than Derek Carr. Carr put up 4,800 yards last year and just got gifted the best present an NFL QB could ask for this offseason: Davante Adams. We’ve already seen the chemistry between these two, with Adams taking 10 catches for 141 yards a touchdown in week one, and we’ve also seen Carr throw for almost 300 yards and two touchdowns already this year.
Chances are he doesn’t toss another three picks this week, considering the talent gap between the Cardinals and Chargers secondaries and the fact it was only the third time in Carr’s eight year career that he’s done that. All signs point to a great week two for Carr, not to mention the fact the Cardinals offense will likely keep them in the game, leading to more passing opportunities. Don’t be afraid to start Derek Carr this week!
One of the weirder week one games took place in Chicago with the Bears and Niners battling it out in what was basically a field covered in a massive slip-n-slide. Torrential rains caused everyone to lose their footing and made it quite hard to move the football. Despite this, the Bears managed to give up more than 170 yards on the ground to this 49ers team. The Niners combined for upwards of 4.7 yards per carry. In addition to these raw stats, according to PFF, the three lowest graded Bears on defense last week were the starting DT duo, Angelo Blackson and Justin Jones, and MLB Roquan Smith. (Graded out at 30.1, 30.8 and 28.1 respectively.)
If your defensive tackles and middle linebackers cannot stop the run, you’re going to be in for a rough day. This rough day gets even worse when you realize the running backs you’ll be coming up against are Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon. Firing up AJ Dillon in your flex spot should be an incredibly easy decision when taking into account this matchup and his impressive performance last week, but there is no doubt that Aaron Jones should be in your lineups this week, despite the dud he posted in week one. Jones still played 61% of snaps last week and the five targets he received should be incredibly safe and consistent week to week volume after taking just a peek at the Packers WR depth chart.
As for his rushing attempts, they should shoot up as the Packers are 10 (yes 10!) point favorites against the Bears. It’s a simple equation: talent + matchup + game script = fantasy points!
It’s no secret that the Falcons are a bad football team. And despite a poor showing in week one, the Rams are still a good football team. One area the Falcons struggled with in week one was defending WRs. Landry dropped 114 yards on a healthy 16.3 YPR which is far higher than his career high. Michael Thomas also scored two touchdowns in his first game back in basically two years. This led to the Saints having two pass catchers scoring 18+ fantasy points and another two with 40+ yards.
Now, obviously, you’re starting Cooper Kupp this week, but this part of the article is more about Allen Robinson. Despite the dud last week, you shouldn’t be afraid to give him a second chance. Not only is he facing a poor Falcons secondary, but Sean McVay has said he’d like to get Robinson more involved and Matt Stafford explained to reporters that the Bills defensive scheme was the only reason Robinson wasn’t used more.
If you remember, Robert Woods had low usage back in week one last year (77% snaps, four targets) before averaging over eight targets per game over his next eight games before injury. We should see a similar situation with Robinson and this matchup gives him the perfect opportunity to turn it around in week two.
Who expected the Seahawks to shock the Broncos on national television in week one? Better yet, who expected Seattle’s two touchdowns scorers to be Colby Parkinson and Will Dissly? If you did, I suggest you build a large parlay for this weekend’s games, and if you didn’t, don’t worry, not many of us did. However, we can use this game to throw out a dart throw TE start for week two. Parkinson and Dissly each put up 40+ yards and touchdown last week, scoring a combined 25.6 fantasy points in the process.
Now, Denver’s opponents this week don’t have the most prestigious names at TE, but they did just have one go off for two touchdowns on only 17% of snaps. The team of course is the Houston Texans and the player is OJ Howard. By no means is this type of efficiency going to continue, however Brevin Jordan is battling an ankle injury which caused him to log a DNP on Thursday (downgraded from a LP on Wednesday). There’s still a chance Jordan plays, however even if he does, OJ Howard should be a fine desperate play at TE (and let’s be honest, who doesn’t need a desperate play at TE in at least one of their leagues) considering the matchup and the fact that after learning more of the playbook, he should receive more snaps.